I signed the Hope Accord.

Most people are blind to the pandemic of jaw malformation

Most people are blind to the current pandemic of jaw malformation because they don’t have the conceptual framework they need to properly make sense of reality. There are two parts to this – external and internal.

The external part is how you perceive other people’s faces. You see that most people’s mouths are about average sized, and you assume that average equals normal. If you saw an evolutionarily normal hunter-gatherer’s mouth, you might call it a Large. In reality, theirs is a Medium and yours is probably a Small. (Mine’s an XS, which is where you start seeing health problems, but most people see it as fairly normal.)

The internal part is how you perceive your own face. It’s very hard to imagine your face in anything other than its current configuration, tactilely and proprioceptually, and the brain’s adaptibility allows you to perceive a wide wange of bodily configurations as normal. Further, if you do have a malformation that’s pronounced enough to cause airway resistance, for example, your brain will automatically and habitually compensate by adopting a dysfunctional body posture, and you’ll perceive that as normal as well.

It is only after speaking to several orthodontists and surgeons and doing a lot of introspection and experimentation that I’ve developed a coherent framework for perceiving jaw formation. I now see the same patterns of dysfunction everywhere. People’s arches narrow to rodentlike points at the front. Teeth overlap at odd angles. The upper jaw is small, downward-sloped, and set back, but compensatory neck posture makes the top teeth appear too far forward anyway.

More importantly, I see that these people wouldn’t look ugly if it weren’t for their underdeveloped mouths. Most of them would look just fine. A large fraction of what we call “ugliness” in the people we see around us every day is in my opinion the result of jaw malformation.